Editor’s note: As we head into the Sunday’sgame between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadephia Eagles, we welcome Brandon Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation— our sister SB Nation site covering the Philadelphia Eagles — for Five Questions with the Enemy.
1) Is Jalen Hurts the guy in Philly?
He is for now. There’s nothing to be learned from playing Joe Flacco. Gardner Minshew only warrants playing time if Hurts turns in about five straight games like he had against the Cowboys on Monday night.
Long-term? There’s a non-zero chance. But it’s not a likely outcome. Hurts has everything you want from a personality and leadership standpoint. That’s not enough to overcome his talent deficiencies, though.
Hurts is obviously one of the NFL’s best running quarterbacks. And there’s value in that. But he’s yet to prove he has the arm of a franchise quarterback. There have been accuracy and arm strength issues. He’s recently left a number of plays on the field. He’s inexplicably bypassed open targets to throw to make more difficult throws to covered pass-catchers.
Sure, Hurts is only 23 years old and he only has seven starts under his belt. The book on his career is far from written. But while there’s room for Hurts to improve, one must consider he might already be largely what he is at this point. The thinking here is that he could be a Tyrod Taylor-level starter in the NFL. A guy who can reasonably start games for your team but not someone who is seriously allowing you to compete for a championship.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is admittedly obsessed with the Eagles having an elite passing offense. He’s not going to settle for mediocrity (or less) at the quarterback position. Especially when the Eagles are going to potentially have three first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Birds have options when it comes to grooming a passing prospect or going out and trying to acquire an established signal caller (Russell Wilson? Deshaun Watson?).
2) What has gone well for the Eagles so far this season?
Well, Javon Hargrave has been pretty good.
It came as a surprise when the Eagles signed him during the 2020 free agency period. They already had Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson under contract. Why add another high-priced interior defender?
Hargrave failed to justify his price tag for much of last year. In fairness, though, he entered the season with an injury that caused him to miss the entirety of training camp.
Now healthy, Hargrave is looking like a real force out there. He’s arguably the team’s best player right now. He has four sacks, five tackles for loss, and six quarterback hits through three games.
The Chiefs are going to need to account for Hargrave creating a lot of interior disruption.
3) What has gone wrong for the Eagles so far this season?
The Eagles have a rookie head coach and it shows. After an encouraging debut in Week 1, Nick Sirianni has fallen off the past two weeks. He had a really bad play-calling sequence from 1st-and-goal at the 1-yard line against the San Francisco 49ers that ultimately led to a 14-point swing. Sirianni had a bad game plan to beat the Cowboys in Dallas. He went into the matchup thinking the Eagles could get into a shootout with their division rivals and totally abandoned the run. To the point where the Eagles had only THREE rushing attempts. I mean, just not the best plan of attack to have Miles Sanders — one of Philly’s best offensive options — only log TWO carries.
The phrase “growing pains” has been used when describing the struggles of both Sirianni and Hurts thus far. There’s probably some truth to that characterization. Then again, one must wonder if these issues are truly temporary or if they’re actual lasting deficiencies.
4) How do the Eagles win this game?
They don’t. Next question.
(For the sake of entertaining the upset scenario … Hurts has the best performance of his career with help from a bounce-back game by Sirianni. Hargrave forces Patrick Mahomes into multiple turnovers. Philly comes up with a special teams touchdown in some fashion. Crowd noise from a raucous crowd at Lincoln Financial Field causes the Chiefs to commit some costly penalties. It’s a perfect storm in the Eagles’ favor.)
5) How does this one play out and score prediction?
It’s very, very difficult to envision the Chiefs falling to 1-3, especially knowing they need to make up ground in the AFC West. This really feels like a “get right” opportunity for KC.
That being said, I don’t think it’s *impossible* that the Eagles don’t get totally blown out. As you’re well aware, the Chiefs are just 2-12 in their last 14 games against the spread. Maybe the Birds find a way to keep this a little more competitive than most would expect. Maybe the Chiefs aren’t quite as good as their reputation suggests.
Ultimately, though, I just don’t see the Eagles coming away with a win in this spot. Philly’s defense has done a nice job of limiting big plays thus far but Jonathan Gannon’s unit isn’t going to be able to stop the Chiefs from putting up points. The Eagles’ offense should be able to have some success against a suspect KC defense but it won’t be enough for the win. Andy Reid moves to 3-0 against his former team.
Chiefs 33, Eagles 27.
Be sure to check out the answers I gave to their questions by clicking here.